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Internal differences keep BJP undecided over caste based census

Saturday, June 12, 2010 08:04:51 PM, Agencies

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Patna: With internal differences persisting and RSS taking a strong line against it, BJP on Saturday appeared to be having reservations on its support to inclusion of caste in census.

"We believe in a strong nation. We have put forth our view in Parliament...Why you are asking us when the stand of the central government is itself not clear," party general secretary Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.

Answering a volley of questions seeking clarity on the party's stand on the ticklish issue, Prasad's refrain was, "we believe in a strong nation. We have put forth our view in Parliament".

He was briefing reporters on the presidential address of party chief Nitin Gadkari to the BJP National Executive which began here.

At the fag end of the Budget session of Parliament, the Lok Sabha had witnessed a debate on the issue of inclusion of caste in census and several BJP leaders including its deputy leader Gopinath Munde had favoured such an inclusion to further the cause of social justice and empowerment.

The Yadav trio -- Lalu Prasad, Mulayam Singh and Sharad Yadav -- were in the forefront of the demand for such an inclusion following which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had assured a decision in the light of the discussion.

However, there was no mention of the issue in Gadkari's presidential address.

Senior leaders like Murli Manohar Joshi had expressed reservations on inclusion of caste in census. Joshi, who was of the view that inclusion of caste would "disintegrate" the society, had said he would raise the issue at the National Executive.

The former HRD Minister had insisted that caste census would not solve any problem and it was not the right thing to do, particularly when the country is facing several other problems.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had also expressed the Sangh's opposition to the move.

Earlier in the day, senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar sought to dispel reports of differences in BJP on the issue, saying that there is no confusion in the party.

"There is no confusion on the issue of inclusion of caste in census within BJP. It is for Congress to explain its position on the issue," he said, adding Congress was "rather confused" over it.

The issue has also seen division in the Union Cabinet. The Prime Minister has recently constituted a Group of Ministers headed by Pranab Mukheree to look into the matter.




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